It`s FA Cup weekend! 2018 and the FA Cup signals two anniversaries for Bolton for me. It`s 60 years since we last won the famous old trophy, and 25 years ago that we won that third round replay at Anfield. A quarter of a century on, we face Premier League opposition once again, but with all due respect to them, the visit of Huddersfield isn`t quite as glamourous a tie. The Terriers are having a good first season back in the top flight, but they have struggled for goals on the road, and with our strong home form, plus the prospect of changes in both lineups, you never quite know. If we do win though, and anyone calls it a giant killing, they`re getting a smack.
“You don`t want to lose that (good form). Whatever changes we make to the team in the Cup, we want to be competitive and keep that run going.”
Phil Parkinson in the Bolton News.
Bolton Wanderers Team News:
There will be changes afoot for Bolton. Gary Madine has been playing with a knock and it has been hinted he could be rested, which would likely lead to a start for Aaron Wilbraham. Antonee Robinson will be available at left-back after Everton have agreed to continue his loan. The biggest problems are in midfield, with Darren Pratley and Karl Henry both injured, and Josh Cullen (as well as defender Reece Burke and striker Adam Armstrong) has finished his loan spell. Being a Cup tie, Mark Howard may start in goal.
Player to watch: Josh Vela
With a lot of midfield shuffling to do, Vela may well drop back from his usual attacking midfield position to play in a deeper role. He had to do this on New Year`s Day, and I thought he did a very good job, although it was the position he used to play until Neil Lennon saw him as a full-back.
Huddersfield Town Team News:
Huddersfield are likely to make wholesale changes. Defender Terence Kongolo signed on loan from Monaco this week and could make his debut, Kasey Palmer has completed a loan spell and has returned to Chelsea. Chris Lowe, Elias Kachunga, Jon Stankovic and Philip Billing are all out injured.
Player to watch: Terence Kongolo
The 23-year-old Swiss-born Dutch defender has found his way from Rotterdam, via Monte Carlo, to West Yorkshire. Capped three times for the Netherlands, including a few minutes in their 2014 World Cup group game against Chile, Kongolo won the Eredvisie with Feyenoord last season before joining Monaco in the summer, but only played three league games and has moved to England just this week to try and get regular football.
Match Facts & Stats
In the last four games at the Reebok/Macron, both sides have won two games each. Funnily enough, the sequence for us is win, loss, win, loss. Hopefully that sequence continues.
The last meeting was back in January 2016, when we lost 2-0, despite our awful season it was actually our biggest home defeat that campaign.
Bolton have won three of their last five home games, Huddersfield have won one, drawn one and lost three of their last five.
Bolton haven`t been knocked at the round at which they entered the FA Cup since 2009, when we lost at Sunderland in the third round. Huddersfield have done this four times in that period.
It could be close, with a lot of changes. Neither side will be at full-strength, but I still think Huddersfield will have a stronger team. If we win, great, if not, move on. I reckon Huddersfield edge it, 1-0.
Back to league action, at Brentford next Saturday, before we host Ipswich a week later.